Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpHappy New Year! As 2013 passes into history, 2014 presents a bright new canvas ready for the brush strokes that will define the hopes and dreams for the coming year. A few things are fairly standard for any change of the calendar. New Year’s resolutions will be made and, despite good efforts, most will be broken. In our busy community, plans for spending more time with the family, or finding more relaxed time for oneself, probably will be forgotten by Spring.

The crack of a bat will resound across the county as Little League games return to our parks in late March and early April. The Friends of the George Mason Regional Library book sales will guarantee packed parking lots and used book bargains. Springtime also is budget time in Fairfax County; increased needs and decreased revenues will make for lively discussions and difficult decisions. The County Executive’s proposed budget will be released on February 25, with Board action to adopt the FY 2015 budget on April 29.

Summertime will welcome the free summer concerts at parks across the county. From my research, the first free summer concert series was held at Mason District Park in 1991; now there are free summer concerts at parks in every magisterial district. On almost any summer evening, you can find free entertainment for young and old in Fairfax County. Perhaps one of those New Year’s resolutions should be to attend, and support, your favorite summer concerts. August will bring National Night Out, when folks get together to celebrate the partnership between neighborhoods and the police that helps keep crime rates low in Fairfax County.

And then it’s time for school to start again. Fairfax County’s student population is growing at a rapid pace, highlighting the need for more classrooms, especially here in Mason District. A unique proposal to repurpose an existing office building at Seven Corners into an urban-style elementary school would resolve some of the overcrowding in the Bailey’s area, but there are additional school needs across the county. The school system this week proposed an $866 million Capital Improvement Program for 2015 – 2019, to include new schools as well as renovations. The next school bond referendum is planned for November 2015.

Autumn will bring the Annandale Parade on the last Saturday in October, along with another library book sale, many civic association fall picnics, and Election Day (for the Senate and House of Representatives this time). Then the cycle starts again with Thanksgiving and Christmas leading to New Year’s 2015. How time flies!

I hope your 2014 canvas has only bright-colored brush strokes exactly where you want them, and that you never run out of paint, or ideas, or time spent with family and friends in the New Year. In whichever language, culture, or custom is yours – have a happy and prosperous 2014.


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.